The Northeastern University men’s hockey team defeated the No. 1 Boston College Eagles 3-1 on Saturday night before a raucous sold-out crowd of 4,746 at Matthews Arena.
The victory improved the team’s early season record to 2-0 and grabbed the attention of the college hockey cognoscenti: United States College Hockey Online featured a story on the upset win over the defending national champions on its homepage on Sunday morning.
Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan praised the team’s strong effort in a press conference following the big win. “We thought our guys played really well,” he said. “There was a poise and a composure that our team demonstrated.”
Madigan had a good feeling about the outcome of the game prior to the face-off, when he heard the pep band play “Don’t Stop Believin’,” a popular song by the rock band Journey. “I hope our band plays it a little more often,” he joked.
Northeastern began the season last Wednesday with a 4-2 victory over No. 19 Merrimack. The red and black have now consecutively topped three ranked opponents dating back to their victory over then No. 4 Boston University in the final game of last season.
The Huskies got off to a strong start against BC on Saturday night. Just five minutes into the first period, freshman forward Ryan Belonger chipped in a pass from first-year forward Cam Darcy. Three minutes later, freshman phenom Kevin Roy took a cross-ice feed from junior forward Cody Ferriero and clanked the puck off the crossbar and into the net.
Roy, who was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League, has now scored both of Northeastern’s game-winning goals this season.
Senior goaltender Chris Rawlings made 31 saves on 32 shots in his second career victory over the Eagles. The lone goal he allowed between the pipes came late in the first period on a BC power play when a one-timer sneaked through the five-hole.
The Huskies reestablished a two-goal lead fewer than four minutes into the third period on a wacky play. After collecting a loose puck in the neutral zone, sophomore defenseman Colton Saucerman skated to the blue line and ripped a knuckle puck passed BC goalie Parker Milner, who had vacated his net.
“It might look fluky, but he put the puck on net,” Rawlings said of the unusual goal. “It took a funny dip. It was like a changeup.”
The Huskies won’t have to wait long to battle the defending champs for a second time this season. The two teams will play again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill.